William Lindsay

New First Nations director pumped

January 7, 2010

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William Lindsay is so pumped about his new job at SFU he’s already planning to build a house on the Burnaby campus.

It’s not for him, mind you, but for the university and First Nations communities.

"If we can raise the funds from donors, I’d like to start the ball rolling on some kind of First Nations house similar to the longhouse at UBC—or maybe something different," says the inaugural director of SFU’s new Office of First Nations.

"But my first priority is to begin implementing SFU’s First Nations strategic plan, which has been moving slowly since the senate approved it in March 2007, waiting for the right director to come on board. I guess that’s me."

Lindsay has his work cut out for him. The five-year plan includes a comprehensive set of actions to attract more First Nations students, staff and faculty members, incorporate more First Nations perspectives in teaching and research and build better ties to First Nations communities.

It designates the Office of First Nations as the "coordinating umbrella" for all university aboriginal activities with the goal of establishing SFU as a leader in First Nations research, teaching, and engagement with First Nations people and communities.

Currently, "SFU is not on the radar at all in the aboriginal community the way UBC is," he says. "But implementing the plan should go a long way towards changing that."

Originally from the Cree-Stoney Nations, Lindsay has spent much of his life in B.C. in both rural and urban First Nations communities.

An educator by training and temperament, Lindsay has more than 12 years teaching and administrative experience in aboriginal post-secondary education.

He holds B.Ed. and M.A. degrees and is completing a Ph.D., all at UBC, where he served for the last three years as coordinator for aboriginal student services.

From his new Office of First Nations quarters opposite the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in the Saywell Hall atrium, Lindsay plans to start assembling advisory teams and committees to begin prioritizing and implementing the new plan.

"And I’m going to ask about that First Nations house. Who knows what answers I’ll get, but I intend to ask. I’m really thrilled about the possibility."


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and what's so great about this?

It makes sense, but it's pointless.

george kaufmann

Hey Kenny, it may be pointless to you because you are not affected by his appointment, but to those students who have become marginalized by the education system, a person of Mr. Lindsay's experience and sensitivity is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dark and foreboding forest.

Good luck with your education Ken.


Hello Kenny,

"it makes sense, but it's pointless"


how does your sentiment make any sense?


Gretchen H

This is very relevant to me. Our department does research and projects that very much impact or relate to First Nations communities, but we lack expertise, contacts in this area, and we lack integrated perspectives of First Nations in our courses, which would be highly relevant to our students. Now I know who we can contact to bridge this gap.

Colleen Tsoukalas

William was very helpful when I asked him to connect me up with First Nations students to make a video about Women in Science and Technology. He is well respected by all and will be a great asset to SFU. I look forward to working more with you, William.



and i look forward to witness this significant event! Building a house for the university and First Nations communities.

Thanks for broadly communicating


This is so exciting! As a student getting me minor in First Nations Studies, I am incredibly pleased that SFU has the opportunity to have a house like this. UBC attracts Indigenous scholars, but SFU just doesn't have the facilities. It would also be great for helping strengthen the relationship between SFU and its students with the local First Nations communities.

On that note, however, I really wish that SFU had a First Nations major program. I feel that that is one of the major steps needed to incorporate Indigenous worldviews into the SFU curriculum.



The people I have been in contact with at FN SFU so far are all amazing. I am happy something is moving along so more people can get in touch with FN SFU and learn more about aboriginal issues in Canada: a country belonging to the First Nations

Kimberley Laing

This is a critical position to have at SFU, and will help further define the university and its direction as it seeks to integrate First Nations health and ownership into education, practice, research, and policy.

Francine Cooper

As a Squamish Nation Education PAC member,this excites me truly. Our PAC is still working hard on keeping our children in High School,getting them to consider Post Secondary is an effort and then getting them to Post Secondary is a challenge,once they get there living arrangements and allowances is the biggest issue. My son is considering attending SFU and trying out for the soccer team. This new appointment gives me home for our youth.


Finally, someone who is going to take the initiative and not just pay lip service to the SFU First Nations strategic plan. This is a win win for everyone at SFU, native and non-native. Congrats Mr. Lindsay



There is such a beautiful and broad knowledge untouched in the education system that comes from the Native community. These are steps taken to enrich knowledge and learning beyond what the education system has now. First Nations people were the first here in this place but now there is many.... It's a strength of character in people to learn about the land that they are on.... and the people who resided here long before many people came. Rich encounters with strong healthy and respectful Native peoples will change your world....

This is a good thing...

Congratulations Mr. Lindsay

Samantha Joe - Sechelt Nation

Congrats William! I'm so happy for SFU, and very proud of you. Don't know if you remember, you taught me at IIG. It's nice reading about you. Hope to see you soon too. Take Care WL!

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